The Jewish Museum has announced that it will be closing at the end of July as it looks to sell the building and move to another site as losses caused by the pandemic and lower returning visitor numbers hit its income.

(c) Jewish Museum London

Based in Camden, the Jewish Museum London houses and displays the UK’s nationally designated collection of Judaica, as well as collections from the Jewish Military Museum, United Synagogue and Jewish Historical Society of England.

Although it reopened after the pandemic, the museum has faced rising costs, which also prevented its return to producing temporary exhibitions, which would have had an impact on luring paying visitors into the museum.

The museum had received a pandemic bailout of nearly £250,000 in October 2020 , and receives £220,000 a year as a custodian of a national collection. However, the museum has been running at a loss, even before the pandemic, and although running costs have been nearly halved, revenues are still down by nearly 60% on pre-pandemic levels.

As a result, the museum’s board has decided that it will have to close the current museum building and look for another cheaper location. The sale of the current site, consisting of a Georgian townhouse linked to a modern warehouse-style building, will release funds for Jewish Museum London’s interim operational costs, contribute towards the new museum site, and seed money to support the future capital campaign.

The museum’s collection will go into storage, but they are looking for sites that could host temporary exhibitions while the museum is closed.

The exact closing date hasn’t been confirmed yet, but will be towards the end of this July.

They expect to leave the site at the end of this year so that it can be sold, but it could take three to five years before a replacement museum opens.

Houses on the same street as the museum are estimated to be worth around £3 million, and while the museum building is roughly a third wider than most houses, the price they could get will likely be constrained by the amount of work that would be needed to convert the building for another use.

Founded in 1932 by Professor Cecil Roth, Alfred Rubens and Wilfred Samuel, the Jewish Museum was originally located in Bloomsbury, it moved to Camden in 1994. A year later it merged with the London Museum of Jewish Life, which had been founded in 1983 and had focused on Jewish life in the East End.

The two museums combined into a single site in Camden in 2010.


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  1. John B says:

    I always liked visiting the exhibitions there, but they were vital, as the permanent exhibition wasn’t sufficient. I hope they find a new home

  2. dncn says:

    Not the only museum that’s closed or on the verge of closing, post-pandemic. Sad times.

  3. Sean says:

    I’ve always found this museum to be quite poorly advertised compared to some of the other smaller ones across London. I stumbled on it several years ago without being aware of its existence. Ever since it hasn’t really been on my radar as I see so little about it. A shame to see it close nonetheless.

  4. Barbara Harcourt says:

    I have visited this wonderful museum do many times and have seen some great exhibitions. Usually I go to visit the Holocaust room as I knew Leon greenman. I’m feeling really bad about this. Can nothing we done?

  5. Carin says:

    Camden have amongst the highest business rates in london.
    There are many empty department stores in cheaper boroughs.
    But there is a theatre on the current site , that will be difficult to replace.

  6. John S says:

    I never knew about this museum, I use to visit Camden a lot during my lunchbreaks when I working Marylebone (a short 10-15 min bike ride away)

  7. Karen Rennie says:

    It is not a well known museum nevertheless of great importance. Hopefully a benefactor will step up.
    Maybe it can join forces with something like the Ben Uri Foundation?
    Some social media coverage might help?

  8. Jessica says:

    I am sad to read this. We are on a family holiday in London for the time being and the museum is recommended in our travel book. I am glad we need to do visits to jewish sites in Germany as school outings, but I would have liked to see how they lived here in London after all they had to go through in their lives. Maybe I can visit the museum at his new place in a future holiday.

  9. MilesT says:

    I’m sure the owner of the o2 centre (shopping centre on Finchley Road) would love to loan some empty retail space for exhibitions of material from the Jewish museum to burnish their tarnished image….

    More seriously, I would hope for some quality temporary exhibitions at the JW3 on Finchley Road, maybe in partnership with the nearby Camden Arts Centre

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